Oak Bluffs refers fishing pier project to MVC


The chairman of the Oak Bluffs conservation commission cut public comment short at a public hearing Tuesday on a proposal by the state Department of Fish and Game office of fishing and boating access to construct a 317-foot fishing pier. Instead, the commission referred the project to the Martha’s Vineyard Commission (MVC).

The pier would be located approximately 200 feet north of the Steamship dock.

All pier projects are subject to review by the Island’s powerful regional land use planning agency, which requires all piers to go through its regulatory process.

About 15 people appeared at the public hearing, ready to voice support or concern. Douglas Cameron, assistant director and deputy chief engineer office of fishing and boating access, provided a brief explanation of the project. Carlos Pena, vice president of CLE engineering, the firm that designed the pier, also described the project.

“I would be willing to take very limited comments,” conservation commission chairman Joan Hughes said. “But the public part of this process is going to be referred to the MVC.”

In the brief comment period allowed, several people who live in the area, questioned the siting of the fishing pier on the north side of the Steamship Authority dock, near to the North Bluff residential neighborhood.

The conservation commission continued the public hearing until the MVC makes a decision. “At that point there may be some alterations to the plan,” Ms. Hughes said. “We will have it out for people to review.”

Mr. Cameron said his agency has never gone through regulatory review before the MVC.

“This is a new wrinkle to me,” Mr. Cameron said. “We are certainly more than happy to go through that process.”

The proposed L-shaped pier would be 16 feet wide and extend 317 feet long offshore. The L-shaped extension at the end would be 48 feet in length. The width of the pier would provide access for wheelchairs, according to a plan submitted to the conservation commission.